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Veteran Police Lieutenant Frank Borelli Provides Insight into Police and Retail Surveillance

Published by Ellen on June 4, 2012 8:03 AM turned its attention to highly experienced law enforcement veteran Frank Borelli of to gain a better prospective on video surveillance in police and retail applications. Frank Borelli, who also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, has more than 25 years of police experience and over 20 years of instructor experience. He has stayed active in police work and training, and has written extensively on law enforcement. In late May 2012, had the pleasure of interviewing Officer Borelli about video surveillance cameras and their effectiveness. We've included an excerpt from the interview below. What purpose do the video surveillance cameras serve in police cars?

Borelli: They're an impartial evidence gathering tool, which can be used to support either a police officer's case, or subpoenaed by a defendant's attorney in an attempt to support their case. Now they can be integrated into speed measuring systems. The inefficiency comes when surveillance cameras are used as a micromanagement tool and you have administrative leadership reviewing videotapes from a disciplinary prospective, simply because they have nothing better to do at some point. It can hurt the morale of officers. Video should be used for evidence, not for checking up on officers. There is also evidence called "Spontaneous Utterance," that the surveillance cameras can catch. If, when I've got my prisoner in transport and I don't ask the suspect any questions, but they just start talking in the back, that's called spontaneous utterance and it's all recorded by the security camera. What are your thoughts on video surveillance in retail storefronts - would you recommend retailers invest in security cameras?

Borelli: I think they're fantastic and I'll tell you why - it's because the stores are all insured (in my experience). And having video helps convince the insurance companies to pay off on any stolen or damaged merchandise. If you put a video surveillance system in a commercial entity, you can have reduced insurance premiums, faster reimbursements, and a wonderful insurance adjustment tool to help insurance investigators analyze the crime so you will get your money back faster. I remember a robbery that occurred and when the suspect was running out the door of the establishment he ran into a shelf that was full of glass bottles, knocking several off. As part of the settlement for the loss, the insurance company reimbursed the owner for all the broken bottles but only because it was caught on video. Retail owners are told to stand back and not get in the way, because insurance companies will help cover the losses if a crime is caught on camera and examined by insurance investigators.

Officer Borelli goes into greater detail on security camera placement, quality, and durability in the full-length interview available on